I keep seeing it all over the news: “will the Senate impeach?”, “all but five Republican senators oppose impeachment trial“, “will Trump be impeached?”.
It’s driving me a crazy to see the ignorance of it all. So, with this short and simple article I’m going to clarify a few things for you, my readers, and for anyone else you can get this article in front of.
One: The Senate Cannot Impeach
I’d thought this had been cleared up after Trump’s last go round. The Constitution says:
“The House of Representatives shall chuse their Speaker and other Officers; and shall have the sole Power of Impeachment.”
Many Trump haters were seen rejoicing after Trump’s last impeachment because they thought he’d been removed from office. Of course, impeachment is just the first step, done by the House, before going to the Senate for a trial. Those who were rejoicing prematurely over Trump’s supposed “demise” had a hard and unpleasant wake up call.
Alas, that whole event seems to have slipped from everyone’s memories, including the media’s, as the term “impeachment” is still being thrown around as if it’s final and/or done by the Senate.
Friends, the Senate does not impeach.
Two: The Senate Tries and Convicts
“The Senate shall have the sole Power to try all Impeachments. When sitting for that Purpose, they shall be on Oath or Affirmation. When the President of the United States is tried, the Chief Justice shall preside: And no Person shall be convicted without the Concurrence of two thirds of the Members present.”
The Senate is given the grave responsibility of trying the charges made by the House. This is no small or inconsequential task, as a conviction results in the removal of a sitting government official (an executive or judicial official as legislators can be removed more easily by the legislature itself) for good. An impeached and convicted government official can never return to office.
To reiterate: the House impeaches and the Senate tries and convicts.
Three: Impeachment and Conviction Only Removes a Holder of An Office From His or Her Position
“Judgment in Cases of Impeachment shall not extend further than to removal from Office, and disqualification to hold and enjoy any Office of honor, Trust or Profit under the United States: but the Party convicted shall nevertheless be liable and subject to Indictment, Trial, Judgment and Punishment, according to Law.”
It is utterly ludicrous impeach/convict someone after they are no longer in office. The entire point and existence of impeachment is to remove someone from office. That is the reason it exists. You literally cannot impeach someone who is not in office. You cannot remove someone from an office if they are no longer in office. It’s simple logic, friends.
The founders wanted the government to have a way to remove someone who needed removal. Impeachment and conviction does this and that is all it does. Impeachment and conviction is not a legal move. It is a political move and has no legal ramifications for the individual.
As you can see, the Constitution says that the individual who is removed from office can be subsequently tried by the courts after removal from office but that impeachment shall extend no further than to removal from office.
Which means, how can someone who no longer is in office logically be impeached and convicted–if the point of impeachment and conviction, per the Constitution, is removal from office?
It is so utterly preposterous and unconstitutional, the mere fact that I am writing about this is baffling to me. I’m especially miffed at the fact that the Senators now considering whether or not to actually try the impeachment of Trump likely know this and are choosing to blatantly disregard the Constitution. Further, the American people should know this and but apparently can’t see the obvious even when it’s right in their faces.
Four: The Chief Justice MUST Preside Over All Impeachment Trials
Can this be any less obvious? The Constitution explicitly says that the Chief Justice shall preside. And yet, the current Chief Justice has declared he will not preside over this next iteration of a Trump impeachment.
The Senate, instead of realizing that they cannot Constitutionally move forward with a legitimate trial, has instead decided to move forward and make Senator Patrick Leahy the presiding officer. (Senate: At least try to look like you’re being constitutional and convince another Justice to preside.)
In other words, the Senate has decided to try the impeachment (aka: potential removal from office) of someone who is no longer holding office without the Chief Justice presiding.
Things can’t get more blatantly unconstitutional and absurd than this.
Frankly, I’d hardly paid attention to the reports about the supposed “impeachment” and “trial” of Trump because I really didn’t take it seriously. I knew how completely and obviously unconstitutional it was, so I figured that the Senate and the news couldn’t be that dense. The Senate couldn’t really be doing this right? They’re just playing the game for the sake of playing the game.
Friends, I’m not so sure anymore, which is why I felt compelled to address the topic with this article.
We cannot allow our representatives, no matter our position or opinion of Trump, to so obviously violate the one standard–The Constitution–that we have to confine them.
If Americans can simply shrug this away, something so obvious, then our representatives will know, without a doubt…
…there is no more standard. They can get away with anything.
The Liberty Belle